COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Mark Weisman spent the last two seasons hobbling into November. The senior left here Saturday ready to rumble through the home stretch.
The 6-foot, 240-pound running back from Chicago carries to contact. That takes a toll.
Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz, and assistants Greg Davis and Chris White, promised to lighten Weisman's load this season, particularly early in games and in the season. They wanted him fresh for the end of both. Mission accomplished.
Weisman carried 10 times for 78 yards and two scores in Saturday's 38-31 loss to Maryland. He pushed his season totals to 427 yards and 10 scores on 113 attempts.
"I think the last several weeks he's been one of the bright spots on our football team," Ferentz said. "Mark is what he is. Me, personally, I like what he is. I'm glad he's on our team. And you can count on whatever he can give to you, he gives it to you."
Weisman picked up 89 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries last week in a 45-29 win against Indiana. At Maryland, he ripped off a 38-yard run, his longest of the season.
Jordan Canzeri (8-35) and Damon Bullock (8 receptions, 100 yards) complemented Weisman's effort on Saturday. It proved to be the best combined output of the season for Iowa's three-headed, running-back monster.
Weisman has scored two rushing touchdowns in the Hawkeyes last four contests. He has posted at least one score on the ground in five games in a row and has 15 in his last 11 outings. For his career, he has 2,217 yards on 499 totes.
Weisman raised his career rushing touchdown total to 26. He passed Ladell Betts for third in program history (Shaw, 33; Banks, 33).
INJURY REPORT: Jordan Walsh returned to the lineup after exiting the Indiana game early with an ankle injury. The junior guard replaced Sean Welsh in the third quarter. Ferentz said Welsh hurt himself Saturday.
Ferentz ruled out Macon Plewa (undisclosed) earlier in the week. The fullback did not make the trip. He played against Indiana after missing the previous three contests.
HOMECOMING: Ferentz included Darian Cooper on his travel roster. The junior defensive tackle suffered a season-ending knee injury that required surgery in August.
Cooper grew up in Maryland and played at DeMatha High School. Saturday, he used one of the 70 travel spots allowed by visiting teams per NCAA rules.
PUNTER CONTROVERSY: Connor Kornbrath saw his first action of the season. The true junior had been Iowa's punter the last two campaigns before JUCO transfer Dillon Kidd beat him out this spring and summer.
Saturday, Kornbrath averaged 37.4 yards on five attempts with four of his balls being downed inside the opponent 20. Kidd punted four times for a 36.8 average with one try stopped inside the 20.
Kidd handled all of the punting duties for the first six games but had been wildly inconsistent. It appeared Saturday that the competition was back on.
FLAG DAY: The Hawkeyes helped themselves this season by not hurting themselves. They led the Big Ten in fewest penalties and ranked fourth nationally coming into Saturday.
Iowa suffered through seven penalties resulting in 65 yards lost against the Terrapins. All proved costly.
The Hawkeyes were penalized just 22 times through their first six games.
"We'd been doing pretty well. We'd been leading the Big Ten for a while in that department. (Saturday) it wasn't there. I can't tell you the cause. I can't tell you why we were good at it but today it wasn't there," Ferentz said.
DOMINATING D-END: Drew Ott continued his breakout season with a big performance at Maryland. The true junior from Nebraska picked off his first pass, setting up his team's opening score. He added three tackles and two and a half sacks.
Ott entered 2014 with two and a half sacks for his career. He's posted seven through seven games this fall.
TRAVEL SQUAD: A list of Iowa players who made the trip and dressed for Saturday's game against Maryland:
QB - Rudock, Beathard, Wiegers.
RB - Canzeri, Weisman, Wadley, Parker, Bullock, Daniels.
WR - Hillyer, Mitchell, Willies, Smith, McCarron, Martin-Manley, Vandeberg, Powell, Stone.
TE - Hamilton, Duzey, Kittle, Krieger Coble
OL - Walsh, Scherff, Blythe, Simmons, Boettger, Welsh, Gaul, Myers, Croston, Donnal, R. Ward, Keppy.
DL - Ott, McMinn, Davis, Trinca-Pasat, Johnson, Meier, Hardy, Bazata, Spears, Rathjen.
LB - Bower, Alston, Spearman, Jewell, Fisher, Perry, Niemann, Gilson.
DB- King, Fleming, Rucker, Warfield, Draper, Lomax, Lowdermilk, Mabin, Taylor, K. Ward, Gair.
ST - Koehn, Ellis, Kidd, Kornbrath, Kluver.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Here's a look at how the Hawkeyes main special teams units lined up on Saturday:
Kickoff - Koehn, Fisher, Niemann, Fleming, Gair, Taylor, Draper, Jewell, Perry, Spearman, Lomax.
Kick Return - Hillyer, Perry, Kittle, Fisher, Niemann, Jewell, Krieger Coble, Kenny, Weisman, McCarron, Parker.
Punt Return - McCarron, King, Mabin, Lowdermilk, Jewell, Bower, Alston, Gair, Kittle, Davis, Trinca-Pasat.
Punt Coverage - Kornbrath/Kidd, Kluver, Alston, Jewell, Wadley, Fleming, Spearman, Lomax, Fisher, Perry, Lowdermilk.
EXTRA-POINTS: Iowa lost on the road for the first time since Oct. 19, 2013. The loss snaps Iowa’s four-game road winning streak…Iowa recorded two interceptions Saturday. Seven different Hawkeyes have an interception this season…Tevaun Smith's five-yard catch midway through the third quarter was the first of the day by a Hawkeye receiver…Iowa attempted 56 passes today, the most ever under Kirk Ferentz…Hawkeye CB Sean Draper recorded his first career interception…Iowa LB Quinton Alston had a game-high and career-high 12 tackles while teammate Jordan Lomax, a safety, finished with a career-best 11 stops…Bullock was Iowa's first 100-yard receiver since Jake Duzey accumulated 138 at Ohio State last October…Hawkeye DE Louis Trinca-Pasat had six tackles, raising his season total to 45 and surpassing his previous single-season high (40 in 2012)…Jake Rudock's two touchdown passes raised his career total to 27, which ranks ninth on Iowa's all-time list…Iowa WR Kevonte Martin-Manley caught four passes for 25 yards. He has 155 career receptions, passing Khalil Hill for No. 4 all-time…The Hawkeyes have played 50 consecutive games without a missed or blocked PAT, the longest streak of any school in the nation. Iowa has converted on 147 consecutive PATs during the streak…Saturday marked the first time Maryland had overcome a deficit of 14 or more points since doing it against North Carolina State in '10…The Terrapins rushed for more than 200 yards for just the second time this season. It also happened against James Madison…Iowa's 116 rushing yards were the second fewest yield by the Terrapins this season (83 by South Florida).